How Once-Tiny Tyrannosaurs Became Titans

Posted by exceller 2 years, 7 months ago to History
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Dino, here are excerpts from the article:

"Recent finds show that ancestors of T. rex were diminutive for eons. The evolutionary puzzle is how they grew up so fast.

At a length of over 40 feet and weighing nine tons, Tyrannosaurus rex was the largest predator ever to stalk the Earth—and we revel in its fearsomeness. No dinosaur has been studied more exhaustively: Paleontologists have investigated its eyesight, hearing, speed, digestion and bite force, to say nothing of what those tiny, dangling two-tined arms might have been good for. In pop culture, the mighty carnivore has become a fixture of prehistoric tales, where, somehow or another, it always ends up dining on a few hapless humans.
For all of our fascination, however, we’ve only recently started to understand how T. rex came to be so distinctive, and so large. It turns out that tyrannosaurs began as pipsqueaks, and their eventual growth is an evolutionary puzzle.
One of the first of their kind, 100 million years before the arrival of the giant T. rex, had roughly the body mass of a big dog. The fossil, called Proceratosaurus, was named in 1926 but was not recognized as an early tyrannosaur until 2010. This past February, a new report from a dig in eastern Utah filled in a key moment of the dinosaur’s later history, based on a few pieces of a specimen from just 16 million years before North American tyrannosaurs became supersized.Though still growing when it died, this first known specimen of its kind was about the size of a “Jurassic Park” raptor—or a human. Its discoverers kept up the tradition of fierce tyrannosaur lore by naming it Moros intrepidus, “harbinger of doom,” but it was still a bit of a shrimp compared to its mighty descendants who would later roam the same area."

Don't know how to copy pictures.

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